Loss of cannabinoid CB1 receptor expression in the 6-hydroxydopamine-induced nigrostriatal terminal lesion model of Parkinson’s disease in the rat.


“The endocannabinoid system is emerging as a potential alternative to the dopaminergic system for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Like all emerging targets, validation of this system’s potential for treating human Parkinsonism necessitates testing in animal models of the condition. However, if components of the endocannabinoid system are altered by the induction of a Parkinsonian state in animal models, this could have an impact on the interpretation of such preclinical experiments. This study sought to determine if expression of the CB(1) subtype of cannabinoid receptor is altered in the two most commonly used rat models of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonian lesions were induced by stereotaxic injection of 6-hydroxydopamine into the axons (medial forebrain bundle) or terminals (striatum) of the nigrostriatal pathway. On days 1, 3, 7, 14 and 28 post-lesion, rats were sacrificed and brains were processed for tyrosine hydroxylase and CB(1) receptor immunohistochemistry. The CB(1) receptor was expressed strongly in the substantia nigra pars reticulata, minimally overlapping with tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity in the pars compacta. Interestingly, while there was little change in CB(1) receptor expression following axonal lesion, expression of the receptor was significantly reduced following terminal lesion. Loss of CB(1) receptor expression in the pars reticulata correlated significantly with the loss of striatal and nigral volume after terminal lesion indicating this may have been due to 6-hydroxydopamine-induced non-specific damage of striatonigral neurons which are known to express CB(1) receptors. Thus, this result has implications for the choice of model and interpretation of studies used to investigate potential cannabinoid-based therapies for Parkinson’s disease as well as striatonigral diseases such as Huntington’s disease and Multiple Systems Atrophy.”


Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences: 367 (1607)

“Human tissues express cannabinoid CB(1) and CB(2) receptors that can be activated by endogenously released ‘endocannabinoids’ or exogenously administered compounds in a manner that reduces the symptoms or opposes the underlying causes of several disorders in need of effective therapy. Three medicines that activate cannabinoid CB(1)/CB(2) receptors are now in the clinic: Cesamet (nabilone), Marinol (dronabinol; Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC)) and Sativex (Δ(9)-THC with cannabidiol). These can be prescribed for the amelioration of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (Cesamet and Marinol), stimulation of appetite (Marinol) and symptomatic relief of cancer pain and/or management of neuropathic pain and spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis (Sativex). This review mentions several possible additional therapeutic targets for cannabinoid receptor agonists. These include other kinds of pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, cancer, drug dependence, glaucoma, autoimmune uveitis, osteoporosis, sepsis, and hepatic, renal, intestinal and cardiovascular disorders. It also describes potential strategies for improving the efficacy and/or benefit-to-risk ratio of these agonists in the clinic. These are strategies that involve (i) targeting cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood-brain barrier, (ii) targeting cannabinoid receptors expressed by a particular tissue, (iii) targeting upregulated cannabinoid receptors, (iv) selectively targeting cannabinoid CB(2) receptors, and/or (v) adjunctive ‘multi-targeting’.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23108552

“Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities”  http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1607/3353.long